Getting real about VCA

Conference organizer: 'We got it wrong'
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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

BRUSSELS—More than 80 security industry professionals ranging from integrators to manufacturers to end users gathered here on Tuesday for the opening of the IMS European conference on video content analysis (VCA), to look at where the technology stands today and how the market is likely to develop.

VCA has been labeled the next big thing in the security industry for some time now. Its relatively high price, complexity and various other factors have combined, however, to put a break on the uptake of what most everyone still considers a very promising technology.

That point was front and center in the opening presentation of Simon Harris, senior research director at IMS. “We got it wrong,” said Harris, in reference to rosier predictions for the VCA market in the past. IMS saw “huge potential” for VCA when it began following the technology four or five years ago, and still does, said Harris, though it’s now clear it will take longer for the market to ramp up. Harris noted that VCA is following a standard course for new, disruptive technologies, which begins with inflated expectations, and is followed by a “trough of disillusionment,” a “scope of enlightenment,” and ultimately reaches a “plateau of productivity.” According to Harris, after a period of over-selling and heightened expectations, VCA is now “coming around the corner” from the trough of disillusionment phase. That will bring it to the scope of enlightenment level, or the key step of really educating the marketplace so that the technology can take off.

With all this in mind, IMS has scaled back its projections somewhat, and now sees only “moderate growth” for the global PC-based (software) VCA market this year and next. In the out years of the five-year forecast, however, VCA growth rates should rise to around 30 percent by 2012-2013. Citing advance figures from an IMS study that will be released later this summer, Harris said that around 38,000 channels of server-based analytics will be registered this year, but IMS expects that to rise to 100,000 by 2013. On the intelligent device side (cameras, encoders and DVRs), around 40,000 units shipped in 2008. That should rise to around 50,000 this year, but ramp up to some 400,000 by 2013.

The government and transport sectors drove the PC-based analytics market in 2008, said Harris, accounting for roughly 25 percent and 20 percent of the overall market, respectively. VCA uptake should grow in other sectors going forward, but the market is still awaiting that “killer application,” and no one seems certain yet what that will be, Harris said.

For more on the IMS VCA conference, see the Security Systems News Europe Continental View blog.